Pros: Great likeness, fun accessories, "classic look."
Cons: He doesn't have kung fu grip...
There are some action figure lines that fans have been waiting a long time for. And with the action figure explosion of the 1990s, it seems like a lot of those fans are getting their wishes granted. Things like a Star Trek line of action figures with hundreds of figures would have been unthinkable, but Playmates pulled it off. The revival of the Star Wars line by Hasbro was more of a no-brainer, but theyve made more than three times the number of figures initially released by Kenner from 1978 1985. Then of course you have my own dream come true, the Palisades Muppet action figurestheyre already up to more than three dozen different figures released, and more are on the way in September! So it was with great pleasure that I first saw Playing Mantis Peanuts Figures
and after getting over my first impressions, I see that these are pretty nice figures that do justice to the legacy of Charles Schulz.
There have been at least three different series of Peanuts figures released to date by Playing Mantis, but I chose to collect Its the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown! series. I chose these for a few reasons:
1) The characters are in their regular colors. I.E., Charlie Brown is in a yellow shirt, Lucy in a blue dress, Schroeder a purple shirt, etc. This is the way they always dressed in the tv specials and movies, so I thought Id go with them. The other series include a Baseball-themed series and Good Ol Charlie Brown series that have the characters in variant colors of clothing (but with awesome accessories like Lucys psychiatric booth).
2) Great Pumpkin is one of my all-time favorite Peanuts specials, and they make a nice little Halloween display for that haunting time of year.
3) The characters each come with Halloween-themed accessories; theyve got bags to go trick-or-treating, Lucy has her witchs mask, and Charlie Brown has his ghost costume with ALL of the eyes cut out of it I had some trouble with the scissors!
4) The characters also come with pumpkin patch bases, which all connect to form a large pumpkin patch, where Linus and Sally await the arrival of the Great Pumpkin.
So thats why I chose this series.
Now down to brass tacks. I think thats the first time Ive ever used that phrase.
This review is for the Charlie Brown figure in particular; of course with Snoopy, hes going to be the most important figure in the line, right? Right. So how does he measure up?
My first impression was that these figures are BIG. Theyre each about five inches tall, which is pretty average size for an action figure these days, but when you consider theyre children, it makes for a large scaled action figure. My next impression was that MAN Schulz drew these kids with BIG heads! I mean, Miles has a big head, but Charlie Brown in particular was generating his own gravitational pull on the other toys on my toy shelf!
Many people have complained about these figures. Theyre produced by a process called rotocasting, which results in a hollow action figure. The head is made of a softer plastic, leading some toy critics to revile them as doggie chew toys. In my opinion, it works for these figures, and if they had been made with solid hard plastic heads, they would have been nearly impossible to keep upright. Some think this gives them a cheap appearance, but I think the look is one of their strong points.
The paint jobs are great, and Playing Mantis has added touches to make the figures look more like the cartoons that theyre based on; for example, Charlie Browns zig-zag that runs around his shirt isnt a solid black color, but has little patches that look like they werent completely filled in by the inkbrush. This is consistent with the way Schulz drew, and little things like that, and Charlie Browns crooked smile really stand out to me.
The articulation of the figures could be better, I suppose, but theyve got more points of articulation than the Simpsons action figures. Theyve got a swivel joint at the waist, the neck turns, and Charlie Brown has joints at his shoulders and elbows. It works for him. He was never really a ninja or anything, ya know?
His accessories are appropriate to his appearance on Great Pumpkin, and include the Pumpkin Patch base, his ghost costume with all of the eyes, and a little trick or treat bag. And the bag is filled with rocks. NICE touch, Playing Mantis.
In all, this is a great toy for either kids or adultsalthough adults will probably find the figures more fun out of nostalgias sake.
I picked up the entire series of six figures on clearance at Kay-Bee Toys, and got a killer deal on them the figures will be re-released with additions to the line (Pig-Pen and Frieda With The Naturally Curly Hair) in time for Halloween this year.
The other figures in The Great Pumpkin line include:
Linus Van Pelt
Lucy Van Pelt
Snoopy and Woodstock